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After a stroke, Hilton Head, South Carolina, resident Billy Johnson was left needing almost total assistance.


Rehabilitation changed that.


When Johnson arrived at Life Care Center of Hilton Head on Dec. 5, 2017, he was unable to move much. He couldn’t roll over in bed, sit up, stand, wheel himself in a wheelchair, bathe or dress himself. He was unable to speak as well and had some difficulty swallowing.


Therapists employed a whole-body approach to his recovery – with physical, occupational and speech therapies.


Physical and occupational therapists used electrical stimulation for neuromuscular reeducation in order to increase Johnson’s range of motion in his arms and legs. PTs guided him through therapeutic exercises to improve his strength and trained him how to transfer from one surface to another. They also taught him compensatory strategies to increase what he was able to do and trained him in walking using the parallel bars.


Occupational therapists educated Johnson in how to use adaptive equipment to promote independence in bathing and dressing. They also provided a home exercise program he could practice and take home with him to stay as independent in his self-care as possible.


Johnson make the biggest strides in speech therapy. He can now speak and swallow normally.


He has made progress in other areas, too. He can now get around in his wheelchair independently and take care of his grooming needs on his own, and he requires only supervision for his bed mobility and bathing. He still needs minimal assistance with transfers (moving from one surface to another, such as from a bed to a chair) and standing balance.


“Never give up,” said Johnson. “Keep trying.”


“I’m so proud of Billy’s hard work and the tremendous progress he’s made,” said Michelle McKenzie, physical therapist assistant.


Johnson returned home on March 13, 2018, with his wife and daughter. He is continuing therapy services with home health.